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Religious and moral issues of the death penalty

Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Introduction There are three primary powers that shape our morals and moral development: By taking specific examples from each realm, we can look for correlation between these factors upbringing, gender, age, and religious affiliation and the view one has of one of the most moral controversies of today, capital punishment.

The hypothesis is that the greater the amount of perceived strictness, the more supportive the individual is of capital punishment. Age and gender seem to play a religious and moral issues of the death penalty in who perceives capital punishment in a positive or negative light. Are women and younger people less than 30 more inclined to be against capital punishment?

We hypothesize that yes, women and younger people in general are less likely to call for capital punishment in retribution for a crime. Society views women as more gentle, less focused on revenge, and the young as more tolerant. Religion is an undisputed source for moral consultation, and it plays an active part in trying to answer the capital punishment debate.

In many religions, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity for example, the leader preaches the concept of brotherly love and non-maleficence towards others. Christianity and Taoism, in particular, take it a bit further and provide information regarding punishment towards your enemies. The Tao says to repay evil with kindness, which is much like what is in Matthew 5: This is our basis for hypothesizing that the more "religious" a person is, the less religious and moral issues of the death penalty they are to be in favor of capital punishment.

Basically, there is a lot of hoopla and extreme controversy about capital punishment that extends into several spheres of life and has a tremendous impact on people worldwide. It causes havoc in the courtroom as well as the churches.

Different religions have their own view; some take the "eye for an eye" approach while others subscribe to a "turn the other cheek" theory. What other sources have to say about punishment and capital punishment in our society. The social inequality theory proposes that the punishment of criminals is unfair because the crime was serving the purpose of getting them the criminal on the same socioeconomic level as the rest of society.

It's suggested that crime is committed to restore the balance of benefits vs. So punishment plays the role of restoring the theoretical balance of " you get what you earn" in society 365. The "Law of retribution" jus talionis determines what kind of punishment is appropriate for the one who voluntarily causes the undue suffering of another. The "Law of retribution" can be summarized in three claims: Punishment is justified only if it is deserved.

It is deserved if and only is the person punished has voluntarily done a wrong. The severity of punishment deserved is that which is proportionate to the severity of the wrongdoing. But does it make sense to punish in proportion to the crime: The theory of reciprocity maintains that "proportionate suffering is justified as a way of reestablishing the fair sharing of the burdens and benefits of law" 25-27.

Punishment can also be seen as a kind of language. This is especially true when dealing with small crimes, like the correcting of a child. Expressionism, or giving punishment as a way of expressing feeling about the crime committed, is a key element in the development of a person. In this context, punishment is defined as "a conventional device for the expression of attitudes of resentment and indignation, and of judgments of disapproval and reprobation, on the part either of the punishing authority himself or of those in whose name the punishment is inflicted" 187.

What the Supreme Court has to say about Capital Punishment: The Supreme Court acknowledged that there is a socioeconomic and racial divide in our nation that results in more blacks getting capital punishment. The court held that the death penalty can be constitutionally imposed in felony-murder cases, even though the defendant did not have the intent to kill. The punishment seems to be harsher than the crime. It's not about the intent, rather the outcome. The court held that the imposition of the death penalty for rape was unconstitutional.

The court decided that crimes are on different levels, and these two are not equal society's standards.

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It's siding with the "eye for an eye" theory. The court held that the manner in which the death penalty was imposed and carried out under the laws of Georgia and Texas was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Constitution. This raises the question of what is if any a humane and non-cruel way of killing another human being. It questions the morality of killing in retribution of killing.

Do two wrongs make a right?

  1. If you are a retributivist, you might support the death penalty because you think that certain or all murderers and perhaps other criminals deserve to suffer death for their crimes.
  2. It questions the morality of killing in retribution of killing.
  3. We did have to throw out 5 surveys where the taker did not fill out whether they were male or female or their age.
  4. Considering the three main families in the philosophy of punishment can help us organise our conversation. Retributivists also think that the severity of punishment should match the severity of the crime.
  5. And finally, maybe because of the possibility that the Jewish results skewed the data a bit religious affiliation helps individuals decide. Society views women as more gentle, less focused on revenge, and the young as more tolerant.

The court held that a second attempt to execute a defendant after he escaped death the first time due to mechanical failure of the electric chair is constitutional. This would not happen today because of the previous decision about cruel punishment.

Is the death penalty moral? What do religious groups say?

Does that mean we have "evolved" in our treatment of fellow man? Looking at the Supreme Court cases in chronological order show a trend toward more humane treatment of convicted killers. Is this moral evolution within society? One of the theories against capital punishment is that our society has evolved past the stage of needing to kill to "teach a lesson. But this is where the background for our society begins, with the adoption of our Constitution. By looking at what the Constitution says about capital punishment, which would be indicative of the opinion at least of the white, land-owning upper class of America around 200 years ago Janda, 135.

From there we can touch on key court cases that deal with capital punishment and the moral issues that are dealt with in the opinions of the Justices and the public.

All of this will help answer if our society is indeed "evolving", holding itself to what many consider to be a higher level of morality and seeking alternatives to executing convicted killers. All 13 colonies used capital punishment as a crime deterrent. Public opinion held pretty steady for the next 100 years until 1890, when the Supreme Court was confronted with the constitutionality of electrocution as a means of execution.

In 1972, the Supreme Court found that the death penalty as applied in Georgia was unconstitutional. The court is getting stricter on what is considered cruel and unusual. Two justices, Brennan and Thurgood, consistently held that any and all capital punishment cases should be declared unconstitutional based on the principle that killing another human being in any circumstance is immoral.

Today, the court has put most of the legislative power concerning capital punishment statutes in the hands of the states Wheeler lecture. Each state has their own provisions concerning capital punishment ranging from it being illegal to Texas, which has hundreds religious and moral issues of the death penalty executions each year.

This is where people and public opinion play a major role; they elect the individuals who make these laws and the people have a more direct impact on state legislature as opposed to federal law. This is how we can see clear shifts in public opinion about the morality of capital punishment. From 1960 to about 1972, there was not one execution because there were strong anti-murder feelings: This could be considered the epitome of public morality within the previously stated theory.

But the executions started again, thanks to politics and "get tough on crime" campaigns. This campaign strategy is particularly successful in Texas where they execute twice as many prisoners per year as the second leading state in executions. Does this mean that Texans are less moral than individuals who live in Minnesota where the death penalty is not an option? I think most would agree that that is not a plausible assumption to make.

This provides evidence against the theory that our society "evolves" towards a non-executing system of punishment, because that would imply that some states are more evolved than others. Walking through major court cases demonstrates trends in public opinion about capital punishment, giving us insight into what America feels as a whole is the right way religious and moral issues of the death penalty deal with those the system deems as guilty. What religious sources have to say about capital punishment: Religious viewpoints on capital punishment are widespread.

The views and ideals of some of the more prominent religions such as Christian, Jewish, Catholic, and Hindu are as follows: There are two arguments that that could be taken from the Christian standpoint. There are those who are for capital punishment and have backed up their argument with biblical references, and there is also the argument against, which also has a very biblical basis. The supportive side of this debate gets the majority of its references and ideas from the Old Testament of the Bible.

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There are many, many scriptures from books such as Exodus, Numbers, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy that directly and explicitly state that criminals are to be put to death for certain crimes. The crimes which were considered punishable by death are also stated, some of which are stealing, cursing ones father or mother, and calculated murder. Some examples from the multitude of verses that address this issue are, "you are to take life for a life, eye for and eye, tooth for a tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise" Exodus 21: Another is, " Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it" Numbers 35: The other side of this issue is those who are against capital punishment.

Even though these people disagree with it does not mean that they do not also get their justification from the Bible. However, from this end, their justification is rooted in the fundamental principle of the New Testament.

This principle is that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice for all sins and wrong doings that we as humans make.

FINAL: The Morality of Imposing Mortality

In the time of the Old Testament the people had to make sacrifices, and do certain things and rituals in order to be forgiven for the sins that they committed. So that if someone committed a crime such as murder the only way for the whole of the land to be cleansed from that would be for the person to be put to death.

  • Does the threat of the death penalty actually deter people from committing heinous crimes to a greater extent than the threat of life imprisonment?
  • But the basic idea is that punishment should make the wrongdoer understand what he or she has done wrong and inspire her to repent and reform;
  • Another is, " Bloodshed pollutes the land, and atonement cannot be made for the land on which blood has been shed, except by the blood of the one who shed it" Numbers 35:

The Jewish standpoint is also from its religious text, the Torah, which is in favor of capital punishment. The Torah is basically the first five books of the Bible, therefore the justification of capital punishment is the same as the Christians standpoint from the Old Testament; in general the "eye for an eye" idea.

The Catholic viewpoint is one that is against capital punishment, because it is seen as cruel and inhumane, and it does not deter crime as it is meant to. The Catholic church is in strong opposition to capital punishment because it feels that legitimate punishment does not include death.

Also, the church believes that only God has the right to take a life and the death penalty underscores "the example of Jesus, who taught and practiced the forgiveness of injustice" http: Capital punishment does not uphold the sanctity of human life, and does not allow for healing to ultimately take place.

Finally, the Hindu religion is also against capital punishment because it is seen as cowardly and it is not an expression of love, which works to uphold the oneness of creation. In the Hindu religion the word Ahimsa means to not harm others in thought, word or deed. It is a virtue that is to be practiced and it is one of the 10 Cardinal Principles of Hinduism. These questions were chosen because 1 they pertained to our hypotheses directly easy to make a correlation 2 they could be answered quickly and simply, which minimized unintelligent, flippant answers.

The format of the survey also allowed us to post it on the interment, getting a wider variety of people involved in our sample. The questions were simple not only for the taker, but also for the evaluators, so the information is assured to be statistically sound.

We did have to throw out 5 surveys where the taker did not fill out whether they were male or female or their age.